Dutch Twitter erupted at IKEA this weekend. As local newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reports, the local IKEA branch in the Dutch city of Delft was asking shoppers to wear a yellow sticker if they were unable or unwilling to wear a protective mask, for example for medical reasons. People on Twitter and social media sites quickly drew dark comparisons to World War II.
It all started with a tweet in which an IKEA customer wrote that you can tell IKEA when you arrive that you are exempt from having to wear a mask. In that case, the customer was told, you need to put a yellow sticker on your jacket so that others can see that you have an exemption.
Yellow sticker at IKEA
For many people, this whole incident has very distasteful connotations. For example Twitter user Elisheva:
According to another, the problem is not the color, but the fact that IKEA uses the stickers at all.
IKEA response: regret and apology
Algemeen Dagblad contacted IKEA for a response, and the store now says that they regret the incident. “We regret that the stickers have evoked negative associations among visitors. It was never our intention and we therefore also apologize,” said an IKEA spokesperson. “We are sorry that it was received so unhappily.”
The stickers were completely voluntary, the spokesperson said, and they were only used at this one location in Delft. IKEA immediately stopped using the stickers after the backlash on Twitter.
The IKEA branch in Delft had introduced these stickers on May 6, for the sake of “clarity,” according to IKEA.
“The intention was only to make it clear to both employees and customers that a customer has a medical exemption from wearing a protective mask.”
The fact that the sticker was yellow is entirely due to the fact that it is one of the well-known IKEA colors.
IKEA finds it very regrettable that the yellow stickers triggered negative emotions in many people, the spokesperson said.